Friday, December 28, 2012

Four deals for you all Canon shooters...


I know, I know, usually we post Nikon deals, it's not intentional, I think it is more because I am a "Nikon Guy" and because of that, Nikon are the deals I am sent.

But today is "Canon Day".

If you are a Canon shooter we have four great deals for you, but it is important to understand that the final price is reflected only AFTER you have added the item to you shopping cart. When you first open the link it will show one price, then after hitting "Add to Cart" it will show the final (and) reduced price.

The first is a great deal is th:

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Standard Auto Focus Lens - USA Warranty will have a final price of $89 (once you have added it to your cart).


Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM UD Auto focus Telephoto Zoom Lens - USA Warranty will have a final price of  $1399.


Canon EOS-7D Digital SLR Camera Body, 18.0 Megapixels, with Advanced Movie Mode & 8 FPS Shooting will have a final price of $1199 (once you have added it to your cart).


Canon EOS-6D Digital SLR Camera Body, 20.2 Megapixels, Full Frame CMOS Sensor will have a final price of $1999 (once you have added it to your cart).



Strobist, the very best of 2012...



I have made it plenty clear (on multiple occasions) that if I could visit just one photography site, could have just one photography crush it would be David Hobby (aka Strobist).

Three times I have had the pleasure of reviewing his instructional DVD's (Strobist Lighting Seminar, Lighting in Layers, and the Flash Bus Tour), each one jam packed with great information and phenomenally affordable (you can get the entire library for under $300).

But the purpose of this post was not to gush (yet again) about Mr. Hobby, but to let you know that at Strobist they have posted the "Best of 2012".

It includes David's 10 favorite posts of the year along with the 10 most popular posts of 2012 as decided by the readers.

And of all the photographs he took this year, here is a slideshow of his favorite images shot in 2012:


So be sure to check out "The Best of Strobist 2012".

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A very merry Christmas to you and yours!...



I love this time of the year, for different reasons as I grow and age... first when I was a child... then when I got to see Christmas through the eyes of my children... and now the simple joy of trying to be the kind of person who carries hope and goodwill throughout the year.

But it all started because of my mom.

She was a single parent with 5 children (2 girls, 3 boys) and we were poor, real poor (though I didn't know it at the time). We lived in the projects in Boston and my mom would struggle to make ends meet with some pretty crappy jobs, cleaning other peoples homes and taking in their laundry.

Two things I remember, being happy and the hope of a wonderful Christmas. No matter what the year had held for my mom, when Christmas came it was magic. It seemed no matter what we had asked Santa for, we would find it under the tree on Christmas morning, so he HAD to be real.

I knew there had to be a Santa because there was no way my mom could afford to buy us these things.

When I got a little older and knew the big guy was more myth than man I couldn't figure out how my mom did it... because by then, I knew we were poor and her thankless jobs weren't going to bring that to an end anytime soon.

Then one day stumbled upon these five envelopes that were rubber banned together. One had my name on it and the others had the names of my brothers and sisters. Each envelope had the exact same about of money in it, all in one dollar bills and change.

Then it hit me, these were Christmas envelopes, after a long day of cleaning houses my mom would take some of that money she made that day and split it evenly between those 5 envelopes. And she did this after every basket of laundry, after every dirty house, all year long. So by the time Christmas came, my mom could make the magic happen.

Though at the time I understood the process, I could not truly appreciate all her hard work, her sacrifices, and all the things she did without until I was older. As I write this now it still amazes me.

It was then that my happiness no longer came from the gifts, it came from knowing how much I was loved.

I hope the same for all of you, that your life is full of friends and family.

I hope that you love and that you feel loved.

I hope there is always food on your table and those you hold most dear are sitting around it.

I hope your home is warm and your heart is happy.

I hope as you look back you see happiness and as you look forward you see nothing but joy.

I hope... because hope is a lesson that my mom taught me.

In closing, I would like to share with you a picture from a Christmas not too long ago... when my girls were still believers... and they left goodies for the big guy and his reindeer.

Merry Christmas mom.

Merry Christmas Molly, Emma, and Katie.

Merry Christmas everyone.




Monday, December 24, 2012

Our Christmas contest winners are...


Here are the winners of our our "Scott Kelby Christmas Contest" (chosen at random):

First Winner: Maryann's*****Fotos, she'll get get Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Boxed Set with volumes 1 & 2, along with a limited edition signed print and a flexible lens shade.


Second Winner: Anika Alonzo, she'll get Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Boxed Set that contains volumes 1, 2, and 3 and a flexible lens shade.


Third Winner: Noel McCarthy, who will get a flexible lens shade.


Congratulations to our winners and a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to enter!

You can check out these images and many more over at the Weekly Photo Tips Flickr group.

All of the winners will need to email me their snail mail address and we'll get their prize packages right out to them.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

The top five Christmas movies of all time...


Just a couple days before Christmas, listening to Christmas music (Johnny Mathis), our Christmas tree has filled our living room (we have to look at it from outside), and I'm really waaaaay more into Christmas than photography at this very moment so thought I would share my "top five all time" Christmas movie list.


Number one on my list is "The Bishop's Wife" with Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven. It's the story of an Episcopal Bishop who is losing sight of his family and why he entered the church as he becomes far too engrossed in having an elaborate cathedral built, that is until an angel (Cary Grant) enters his life and helps him refocus on what is really most important.


Second on the list is "A Christmas Carol"... don't really think I have to tell anyone what this movie is about. There are soooooo many versions, for me it's a tossup between 1999 version with Patrick Stewart or the 1938 version with Reginald Owen.


Third is "It's a Wonderful Life", a story about how George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) spent his entire life trying to get out of Bedford Falls but for one reason or another never succeeds. Feeling his life has been a waste he has the rare opportunity to see what the lives of those people he has touched would have been like had he never been born, it's then he realizes that he truly is the richest man in town.


Fourth is "The Family Man" with Nicolas Cage and Tea Leoni, this funny, touching story is about redemption, second chances and family. It looks at what life would have been like had Jack Campbell (Nicolas Cage) chosen a mini van and diapers over a Ferrari and (equally) fast women. This movie was good enough to bump "Scrooged" from the the number 4 position that it held in last years list.


Fifth, and last on my list is "The Shop Around the Corner", another movie with Jimmy Stuart and is less a Christmas movie and more a movie that takes place at Christmas time. If you've seen the movie "You've got Mail" you already know the plot line.

These are my favorites because they beautifully demonstrate love that we (should) have for each other and show the better side of mankind. If you like sentimentality at Christmas (like I do) you just can't go wrong with any of these movies, if you haven't seen them (or it's been some time) I would strongly encourage you to give them a try.

Please, I would love nothing more than to hear what movies have made it to the top of your Christmas movie list.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Speaking of the Mayans, check out this...


Zero CM (aka Sergio Garcia Rill) is a very active member of the Weekly Photo Tips Flickr group, and below is the latest image he posted to the group, called "Galactic Castle".

(click on the image to view larger)

Here is his write-up on Galactic Castle:

"The Temple of Kukulkan or "El Castillo" (The Castle) as it is commonly called is one of the main pyramids of the Chichen-Itza archeological site.

One of it's main features is that on the spring and autumn equinoxes the sun casts a shadow over the steps that makes it look as if the serpent is moving up or down.

This images is a composite of two separate images. The background is one of my pictures from Big Bend with the milky way visible. The foreground is the Castle and the Temple of the Warriors during the light and sound show at Chichen-Itza.

I don't normally like doing this kind of mashups, but in this case it was necessary because even with clear skies the light pollution from the city around the archeological site would wash-out the milky way."


To see more of his work be sure to check out Sergio's Flickr stream and his website.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Well, I guess this is goodbye...



I had serious doubts about that whole "Mayan, the world is coming to an end" thing, but then I saw the weather forecast, and well... I am a bit more concerned now.


If I were a younger man I would be having one of those "end of the world" parties, but I'm not (either young or partying), so... as an old(er) man I'm just hoping it's not too noisy and it won't wake me up.

:)

If you love photography you must read this...



"The Print and the Process: Taking Compelling Photographs from Vision to Expression" by David duChemin, it is packed with some of the most beautiful images you will ever want to see.

I am a huge fan of David's and have his website and his Flickr page bookmarked, visiting them both often just to see his latest work.

So to say the least I was excited when his new book arrived on my doorstep a couple of days ago, and I didn't waste any time digging right into it.

It takes place (photographically) in Venice, Iceland, Kenya, and Antarctica.

Each location has three chapters/sections, "The Prints", "The Process", and ends with "Print by Print".

"The Prints" consists of about 30 pages (or more) of incredible images, one after another (not a word to be found), you will most likely thumb through them more than once before heading to the next chapter.

"The Process" is where David talks about the thoughts and motivation on how each project came to be, he shares with the reader every single piece of gear used for that project, along with post processing information. A very cool feature is that you can download (for free) the exact same Lightroom Presets he used on the images you just looked it.

"Print by Print" walks through ever single image with a thumbnail, the camera settings, and all of the details on the how and why the photograph was taken, like why the shot was framed the way it was, why he used a certain filter, why it was shot at that time of the day, and just about every other "why" that you can think of.
 

"The Print and the Process" is beautiful to thumb through, simply stunning, most coffee table books couldn't come close to holding a candle to it, but if you own a camera this book is also inspirational, because as you go through the pages and learn the details of how they were taken you can't help but think that "one day I'll take a photograph like that".

I haven't enjoyed reading a photography book this much in quite some time.

You can (and should) read more about this book at David's site.

Click on either of the above mages to view larger, it will be worth it.

The last, best camera deal of 2012, seriously...


I had not intended in posting any more photography/camera specials or deals until after the holidays but when I saw this it was just too good not to share.

And yes, you can get in in time for Christmas absolutely free.


The Nikon D800 usually sells for $2,995 but you can get it and everything listed below for just $2,796.

This is everything you'll get in this special Nikon D800 bundle and it come with free two day shipping!


*Nikon D800 Digital SLR Camera Body - usually $2,996

*SanDisk 32GB Extreme Compact Flash Memory Card - $89 value

*Nikon WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter (for Wi-Fi Connectivity) - $60 value

*Flashpoint RCN1, 3-in-1 Remote Control-Camera/Flash Trigger - $40 value

*Flashpoint Wireless Remote Shutter Trigger - $35 value

*Lowepro Rezo TLZ-20 Holster-style Bag - $40 value

*Power2000 EN-EL15 battery for the Nikon D800 - $30 value

*Rapid Battery Charger for Nikon EN-EL15 - $15 value

*Adorama VIP Member Extended Protection Plan - $8 value

So here is the link to this Nikon D800 bundle deal, if you are in the market for a new camera go check it out.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Learning flashes with David Hobby & Joe McNally...



This past May we reviewed the Flash Bus Tour DVD with David Hobby & Joe McNally, you can read the entire review (and see sample images) right here.

At the time we wrote the review (and until recently) you could purchase the two DVD set for just $99 which I think was worth every penny, and then some.

Well, while supplies last you can now get the Flash Bus Tour two disc set for just $49 (with free shipping)!

This offer is good as long as supplies last, once they are gone so is this phenomenal price.

So don't walk, RUN NOW to get you Flash Bus Tour now and learn from the two people who know more about flashes than just about the rest of the world.


A Christmas contest reminder...



There are just six days left to enter our "Scott Kelby Christmas Contest", all three winners will be announced here on the blog on Christmas Eve.

Entering it could not be simpler and you can get all the details here on how you can have a chance to win, along with the prizes we are giving away (with the additional prize here).

One of the prizes being given will be an autographed Scott Kelby Print!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Spend this evening with Scott Kelby...



For an hour and a half this evening (12/18) Scott Kelby will be sharing his coolest Photoshop tips and tricks in a free webinar.

And if that isn't enough to entice you, they will be giving away 1 NAPP membership every single minute during the webinar!

You can get all of the details over at Scott Kelby's blog, or directly at the Photoshop love fest web  page.

See you there.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Simple dodge & burn Photoshop tutorial...


For this Photoshop tutorial we used one of our readers images that was uploaded to our Flickr group to demonstrate how a simple dodging and burning can better control where the eye of the viewer go.

A HUGE thank you goes out to Anika Alonzo for allowing me to use her image, and for trusting that I would do so in a respectful way.

Here is the image before the dodge & burn:


Here is after:


And here is the video:


If you received this post via your email subscription you will need to head back to the blog or directly over to YouTube to view the video (sorry, they still have not figured out a way to attach videos).

Friday, December 14, 2012

Something totally new at Weekly Photo Tips!...


Today's big announcement, we are adding another voice to Weekly Photo Tips, a new monthly column written by Scott Reed.

Instead of listening to me ramble on, here are a few words directly from Scott about what his monthly post will cover:

"You’ve seen the TV commercials, billboard and magazine ads advertising “Hydrid,” the buzz word for today’s automobiles. Well this buzz word has integrated into our industry. Five years ago, a DSLR was a camera, producing digital images from visions of the creator’s eye. Camera makers now use the term HDSLR an acronym for, “High-Definition Single Lens Reflex.” I will go on the record to modify the acronym and redefine it as, “Hybrid Digital Single Lens Reflex.”

Almost every amateur, semi-pro, and professional cameras are capable of capturing and producing, in some cases, cinema quality video. Now I’m not telling you anything you don't already know, but I want you to take heed of the importance of adding this skill set to your capabilities list. Clients are becoming more accustomed to a multi-media company versus a stand-alone photographer or videographer. Utilizing the same camera for still and video, allows a larger selection of media options for the client. Look at it this way, light the scene for video and capture the occasional still image; POW….. you’re a multi-media producer.

This addition to Weekly Photo Tips, will be a once monthly post discussing lesson’s learned from using a traditional still camera to produce video; gear testing reviews; camera settings; and helpful hints for those transitioning into this expanding form of media. I welcome input from readers with questions and suggestions for future postings.

Other topics to be covered:

- Variable ND filters – Why they are important, usage and suggested brands
- Digital Image Viewfinder – Pros and Cons, product reviews
- Shoulder Rigs – The best choice for the best price
- Tripods and Heads
- Audio Components – How best to capture audio in various scenarios
- Capture Formats – What to do with the media
- Suggestions
"

Scott Reed a commercial media specialist based in San Antonio, TX. With a vision on the future, he began to research the implementation of video services to his clients. After talking to past clients, he realized in niche where his company can provide both services to a client in the same setting, allowing him to standout from his competition. Scott retired from the Air Force after a 22-year distinguished career as a Combat Aerial Photojournalist. His commercial work can be seen at NRG Pictures and western lifestyle at Rodeo Realms.

Welcome to Weekly Photo Tips Scott.

Phenomenal Nikon D600 super bundle!...



Starting today (and as long as supplies last) you can save almost $800 on the following Nikon D600 super bundle.

Here is everything included in this kit:

Nikon D600 DSLR camera body along with a Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S VR Lens

PLUS: 

 · Adorama VIP Member Extended Protection Plan

· Lexar Pro 32GB SDHC Class 10 600X memory card

· LowePro Rezo TLZ-20 holster camera case

· Power2000 EN-EL15 spare battery

· Adorama external battery charger for Nikon

· NIKON ML-L3 remote trigger

· NIKON WU-1B WiFi mobile adapter

· Cleaning Kit

All for the same price as the body alone - $1996.95


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas images from our readers...


Here are just a few of the images being uploaded to our Flickr group by our wonderful readers as part of our Christmas themed contest.

You can get all the details of our "Scott Kelby Christmas contest giveaway" (including how to enter) right here, and check out the additional prizes we added here.

Ho, ho, ho.... Merry Christmas!







Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Adding more prizes to our Christmas contest...

We are adding yet another prize to our "Scott Kelby Christmas Contest Giveaway", each of the (two) winners will receive a brand new flexible lens shade along with their other prizes.

And we are going to add a third winner who will get (just) a lens shade.

So that will bring us to a total of three prize package winners for this contest!


The lens shade attaches to either the lens hood or directly to the lens itself via a Velcro wrap, significantly extending shade coverage, it is so flexible that it can shaped to provide shade regardless of the angle of the sun.

The flexible lens shade is made out of a ballistic nylon shell, has double stitch sewing on all the seams making it durable, professional, and lightweight. Because it stores flat it takes up almost zero room in your camera bag.

You can read more about it and see sample images by following this link to our post "shooting into the sun".

You can get all of the details on how to enter our Christmas contest right here.



I just improved my memory...



Now that image file sizes are getting so large, then add the fact that most cameras have video capabilities and the memory cards I have just aren't cutting it.

Which is why I just bought 2-Pack of Lexar 32GB Professional 400x CompactFlash Cards, though I have had the need for larger cards since I bought my D800 a couple months ago it was the price that made me buy them now, this 2 - pack was just $129.95 (regularly $229) and they also come with free shipping.

Just as impressive as the price is the high Read / Write speed performance of 60MB/s minimum guaranteed.

If you are in the market for larger compact flash cards be sure to check out this Lexar 2-pack.

Something else you might want to check out are the new prizes we will be adding to our "Scott Kelby Christmas giveaway", we should be announcing them later this afternoon.


Monday, December 10, 2012

This is too important to wait...


As most of you know, Monday through Friday we are all about photography, if there is going to be an "off topic" post it happens on the weekend.

But today we are breaking this rule because by Saturday it would be too late.

Today the tens of thousand of wreaths destined to adorn the headstones of American veterans at Arlington National Cemetery have left Maine.


This marks the 21st consecutive year that this has happened.

If you are interested in seeing the wagon train of trailer trucks carrying these wreaths there will be some 20 stops and rallies held in every single state between Maine and Virginia (check here for the complete schedule).

Arlington is not the only cemetery that Worcester Wreath sends wreaths to, there are over 600 locations nationwide that will receive wreaths for those brave men and women who have "gone on ahead", this link will let you search for a location near you.


This most wonderful tribute was started by Morrill Worcester, the founder of Worcester Wreath Company, when he and his workers wanted to do something to honor those brave fallen men and women.


If you are interested in sponsoring a wreath you can get more information here.

Worcester Wreath Company is who I use to send wreaths to friends and family who live "away" and they have NEVER failed to bring a smile and thankful response from those who have received them.



Our Scott Kelby Christmas contest giveaway!...


Just to be clear, we aren't actually giving away Scott Kelby, but we are giving away five of his books and one of his autographed prints.

Pretty Cool, huh?

There will be two winners for this contest, winner number one will get Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Boxed Set with volumes 1 & 2, along with a limited edition signed print!


Winner number two will get Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Boxed Set that contains volumes 1, 2, and 3.


But wait, there's more... Both winners will also receive one year "plus" memberships to 500px.com.

As always the contest is pretty simple to enter, here are the rules:

1. This contest is themed based and the theme is (what else) Christmas!

2. Like us on Facebook (if you've "liked" us for a previous contest, this requirement is waved)

3. Leave a comment on any one of  our blog posts or one of our YouTube videos

4. Upload your Christmas themed image(s) that you shot to our Flickr group

If you are new to Flickr (or have never joined) you can get all the details on how to join the Weekly Photo Tips Flickr group here.

The contest starts right now and both winners will be announced on the blog Christmas eve, Monday December 24th (2012).

Good luck everyone, as always we are looking forward to seeing your images and reading your comments.

Here is the small print (literally):

All rights and ownership of submitted images remain with the photographer who took it.

friend us once, then 1 image upload + 1 comment = 1 contest entry.

You can enter the contest as many times as you like, no limit.


Winners outside of the US will need to cover the cost of shipping their prize package.



Thursday, December 6, 2012

Think Tank Camera Bags are on sale!...


Just in case Santa is still looking for some of your presents you might want to send him this post his way.

Some of these bags are as much as 50% off and they ALL come with free shipping.


Think Tank Skin Strobe - $17.49



Think Tank Glass Taxi, Convertible Backpack - $134.77



Think Tank Streetwalker Backpack, and comes with a FREE Think Tank Battery Holder - $143.77



Think Tank Airport Essentials Backpack for Standard DSLR System - $158.17



Think Tank Speed Racer V2.0 Waist Pack - $161.77



Think Tank Airport 4-Sight Four Wheel Roller, comes with a FREE Devo Folding Travel Table for Laptops - $199.75

Not only is the Think Tank Airport $50 less than any place else, it also comes with a Rebate offer.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

More images from our readers...


I may have been on vacation but you weren't.

You good people kept uploading your images to our Flickr Group while I was away, and I'm glad my absence did not slow you down.

Here are just a few of the beauties that were uploaded.










Feel free to click on any of the images to view larger.